My Little Black Friday

@myhousecandy was alarmed to learn that actual punches were thrown in a bid to bag some bargains on Black (eye) Friday. Now I love a shopping event as much as the next person, but surely the joy of landing 50% off is a bit diluted if you have to leave the shop escorted by security.

So I have decided to re-launch Black Friday minus the black cloud that is currently darkening the whole experience for mild mannered shoppers such as me. Henceforth this shall be a day devoted to buying anything gorgeous ... as long as it's black.

So there were no fights, no queue rage, no car parking frenzies to report at My House Candy HQ. Just the following two FULL PRICE investment pieces that will forever remind me thus:

1) The thrill of finally purchasing items that you have lusted after for weeks and have been willing to save hard for, far outweighs that of grabbing a quick fix bargain in a flash sale.

2) Black never, EVER goes out of fashion... but black eyes suck.

This sleek, sexy table from Funktionalley at Red Brick Mill is my dining room equivalent of the LBD. Timeless and good looking it works just as well for every day as it does for high glamour situations. It's all about the accessories.

Talking of little black dresses, my search for the perfect party frock is officially over.

This one shoulder number is Posh Spice herself in sartorial form.

I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want out of a wardrobe essential. I want to slip on stillettoes and be good to go for cocktails. I want to team it with flats, thick tights and a cardi and do the dress down job effortlessly. I want it to fit to perfection and discover it ingeniously flatters in all the right places. I want 100% zig-a-zig aaaaaahhhhh and I am still having to pinch myself to believe I got it.

Now isn't that how a shopping event should make you feel?


Parrot Fashion

Harrods go for budgie brights ...
Forget the partridge, or the pear tree for that matter. On the first day of Christmas, all your true love need give you is the cage. Bird cages have been hanging around interiors shops for a while now, but this season they are popping up as the Christmas decoration de-rigour. I spotted these two in Harrods but I didn't have to spread my wings far to pick up some high street steals that help you copy the chic shop window look - parrot fashion. 
 ... and Au-naturel
Hanging your favourite baubles at differing lengths inside a decorative birdcage creates a show stopping centre piece and allows you to use your key accent colours for the room. These dinky decorative tea light holders from Homebase are covered in glitter and make glamorous table decorations all on their own. But since they cost under £2 each, why not buy a few to line up down the centre of your dinner table on Christmas Day?
A table decoration worth tweeting about

Since budgie keeping is all a bit 1980s, it's easy to pick up an old pet bird cage at flea markets and car boot sales. If you have time, spray paint it in a modern matt black, but if you are lucky enough to stumble upon a clean wire one in silver or gold, simply fill it with vintage glass candle sticks and tea light holders for serious winter WOW factor.  

Fill a cage with candlesticks for a show stopping centrepiece

Check out your local garden centre for decorative mini bird cages to dot about the house. Cheap, cheap and cheerful!

Cage lighters


Blend it like Beckham

I do love a Beckham. There's David and his tattoos, Harper and her mini Mary Jane's, Romeo and his Burberry Mac. It's like the whole family were sent as a glorious gift from God to decorate our green and pleasant land.

Next time I'm in London I'll be popping in on Victoria. She's invited me to her new shop on Dover Street. It's not an exclusive invite, more of an open house, but I will go, dressed to impress. And as well as admiring a fine cut or an exquisite thread, boy will I drink in the House Candy.

From the raw polished concrete, to the floor-to-ceiling mirrors, I will marvel at the way Victoria has emulated her own personality in shop form. Down to earth meets high glamour. Hard working, with a seriously fun side. Immaculate from every angle.

For me, this is what interior style is all about. Creating a space that speaks volumes about the owner. A place that reflects their individuality just as much as the clothes they wear and the music they listen to. This is not an ordinary clothes shop. This is a lesson in how to blend it like Beckham.

One day I will own a bit of Beckham. It might be a dress, or a bag if I'm lucky, but it will have been expertly crafted by Queen Victoria. And my guess is, it will be insanely beautiful.


When Football meets House Candy... trust me on this one!

I was blessed with two boys. I remember sitting in my newly decorated nursery waiting for my firstborn to arrive. Surrounded by colourful Cath Kidston florals and admiring the newly knitted ballerina bunnies (well it was Easter) I dreamt of pretty four posters fit for a princess and teddy bears tea parties out on the lawn.

Then along came George. Football mad George. Loves Arsenal, hates Princesses.

I got away with mum-friendly room themes for as long as was possible. (Thank you Cath Kidston for your vintage cowboy print - See ebay for great handmade accessories) But the day will come for most mothers of sons when their little Prince requests a football room. So here are my tips for embracing your inner soccer lout, whilst creating a room you can still (kindof) call stylish.

1) My only splurge was this bespoke wallpaper - a made to measure map of the particular area of North London that is home to Mecca, sorry The Emirates. www.wallpapered.com were nothing short of brilliant. They incorporated my colour requests and somehow made sure the actual stadium itself was bang smack in the centre of the wall. It was easy to put up using the instructions and unlike your standard football themed papers, this one is not going to date.

2) Upcycle old furniture using the team's colours. This old pine furniture looks fine and does the job. The great thing about having boys is that they rarely request a particular brand of wardrobe!

3) Visit office suppliers for large scale pin boards that can accommodate a shed load of certificates, newspaper cuttings, match attacks etc  that will otherwise be left to decorate the floor. This giant one from www.officefurnitureonline.co.uk was delivered in days and cost less than £30.

4) Create a cosy reading corner. Not that they will use it of course. But you need somewhere to house the cheap trophies, Shoot annuals and the Horrible Histories box sets. Actually this boot bean bag has been a massive hit with my boys. It was one of a number of more tasteful items in Next Home's football inspired furniture collection.

5) Be discreet. Well OK, my guests don't need to be Einstein to work out Arsenal fans live here but  a polite nod to The Gunners via a London Underground duvet cover got me nicely out of tacky club bedlinen that George had his eye on. This one is from Asda.

So it was a tough match on unfamiliar turf, but the final score? Football 1 - House Candy 1 : Win Win.


One man's junk is another man's House Candy

Yesterday my friend and I took a stall at the local second hand market in a bid to make a bit of cash before Christmas. We brought along a car full of unwanted items that were lying about our houses. By half past three we had turned our junk into £130 worth of crumpled English notes. Minus stall fees = £100. Split between two = 50 quid each. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, if not my most lucrative day's business, but it provided an opportunity to cash in on some considerable pre-loved house candy.

1 x brass lamp in full working order = £18  - The gorgeous shade is from Graham and Green
2 x 50s dining chairs = £20 - See their transformation in a future blog post.
1 x retro swivel office chair = £8  - I'm sitting on it now!
1 x decorative box and vintage playing cards (full set) = £5  - A unique and gorgeous Christmas gift.
Total = £51

So my outgoings for the day exceeded my income, which is never a great idea but not at all unusual. And anyway, I look at it this way: In a matter of hours, I swapped a few bags of unloved items for this exciting selection of ready-to-love items. It made a lot of space in my attic and it only cost me one pound. Savvy shopping, see?

So get up into your attics and clear out those closets people. And remember my mantra ...One man's junk is another man's house candy!